PREVIEW: Coastal Spirit set to give Technical their biggest challenge so far

posted in: News, Southern League

By Logan Smith and Harrison Ryburn

Early Southern League frontrunners Cashmere Technical face their toughest test yet, heading across town to face fellow National League hopefuls Coastal Spirit at Linfield Park.

The third round of Southern League action gets underway on Saturday in Otago, with Dunedin City Royals, off the back of two defeats, hosting Ferrymead Bays in an early kickoff.

Bays will have a point to prove after a defeat to Christchurch United where they let slip a 3-1 lead.

Then, at Foster Park, Selwyn United welcome Nelson Suburbs, with both sides looking for a second win of the campaign.

Selwyn responded to a poor opening round with a critical win against UC Football, but Nelson will be a tougher challenge.

Later, an FC Twenty 11 team, struggling to compete so far, take on Nomads United, and champions Christchurch United will be expected to continue their perfect record against promoted UC Football, who are without points so far this season.

Finally, on Sunday, Coastal Spirit play competition leaders Cashmere Technical, who they could overtake with a victory.

Game of the week

Coastal Spirit’s home match against Cashmere Technical looks to be a must-watch and an important barometer for both sides’ ambitions to qualify for the National League.

Table toppers Cashmere have made an absolutely roaring start to the 2024 season, cruising to a 5-1 win against the Royals before a 12-0 demolition of FC Twenty 11.

The Spirit had a busy off-season with much recruitment and thumped Selwyn 7-0 in the opening round, but they will be frustrated to be behind Cashmere and Christchurch United, having drawn 3-3 against Nelson Suburbs where they blew a 3-1 lead in additional time and missed a late penalty kick.

Technical failed to beat Coastal in both Southern League matchups last season, so the hosts will be confident they can take something from the match again.

Danny Knight … an important role for Cashmere Technical this campaign. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Players to watch

With Matt Foord now at Wellington Phoenix, experienced goalkeeper Danny Knight (31) seems to be the clear number one for Cashmere Technical this season and has conceded only once in the opening two games.

His defence have helped keep the attacks of Dunedin City Royals and FC Twenty 11 quiet, but you’d certainly expect him to face more shots and pressure against a free-scoring Coastal Spirit team boasting current topscorer Alex Steinwascher.

In what is likely to be a close game, Knight’s performance in goal for the visitors could have a big impact.

— Logan Smith

Dauntae Mariner.

Dauntae Mariner caught the eye in Nelson Suburbs’ come-from-behind 3-3 draw with Coastal Spirit last weekend.

The centre-forward, who appears to be playing slightly deeper for Suburbs, is one of a number of new signings acquired by the Nelson-based club over the break.

He joins from Australian NPL side the Gold Coast Knights, and has also spent time in the academies of both Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers.

At 24, Mariner also received his first international call-up for Samoa at the Pacific Games late last year.

He appears to have an added bit of quality about him, and will be key throughout the season, and as Nelson Suburbs make the trip to Selwyn United this Saturday.

— Harrison Ryburn

Bold predictions

It’s been a very tough start to 2024 for FC Twenty 11, conceding 21 goals and scoring none across two emphatic defeats to Cashmere Technical and Nelson Suburbs.

They will hope to turn things around against Nomads this weekend, who were the first team they beat last season.

However, with the visitors coming off victory against the Royals and a positive preseason, I think it could be another week of struggle for FC Twenty 11.

Nomads don’t win big often in the Southern League, but I’m tipping they’ll triumph 5-0 on Saturday.

— Logan Smith

Coastal Spirit have made it very clear that they want to push for a National League place this season, following a raft of signings over the summer.

They’ll probably have to beat one of Cashmere Technical or Christchurch United to do so, though, and this represents the first chance to do so against the former.

Technical have scored seventeen goals through the opening two rounds and already appear to be finding their groove, whilst Spirit were dramatically denied three points last week after leading 3-1 away at Nelson Suburbs, conceding two injury-time goals to settle for a 3-3 draw.

Spirit may have the home advantage at Linfield Park on Sunday, but it’s hard to bet against their opponents, and I’m picking a 2-1 win in favour of Technical.

— Harrison Ryburn


Games to be played on Saturday April 13, 2024

Dunedin City Royals v Ferrymead Bays
Tahuna Park, Dunedin, 12.30pm

Selwyn United v Nelson Suburbs
Foster Park, Rolleston, 2pm

Christchurch United v UC Football
United Sports Centre, Christchurch, 2.45pm

FC Twenty 11 v Nomads United
Avonhead Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm

Game to be played on Sunday April 14, 2024

Coastal Spirit v Cashmere Technical
Linfield Park, Bromley, 1pm

Alejandro Steinwascher.
Garbhan Coughlan.
Lyle Matthysen.
Spencer Barber.

Golden Boot

6 — Alejandro Steinwascher (Coastal Spirit), Garbhan Coughlan (Cashmere Technical)
5 — Lyle Matthysen (Cashmere Technical)
4 — Spencer Barber (Nelson Suburbs)
3 — Lennon Whewell (Nelson Suburbs)
2 — Alex Ward (Nelson Suburbs), Angus Mcintyre (Nomads United),  David Yoo (Christchurch United)

Logan Smith

Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.

Harrison Ryburn

Harrison Ryburn is a Canterbury-based football writer.

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